Weekly Update: September 29, 2023

Weekly Update

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Ms. Morrison’s Middle School students did a great job mixing and fixing

“I see” sentences with Remedial Specialist Ms. Curtin!

Information From Cotting School
Have Any Old AFOs, SMOs or Winter Boots?


Send them to school with your student! Cotting parent Erika Baum is collecting these items for a high school student project. Students interested in health sciences or engineering will use them to explore better winter boot options for people who wear AFOs/SMOs.


Any and all random AFOs/SMOs/winter boots are welcome—boots without AFOs, SMOs without boots–no problem! This is a time-sensitive collection, so if you’re able to help, please send in your items this coming week. There will be a box in the foyer of the school where they can be placed. Please label your donations with your student’s name if you would like them to be returned to you. All items will be returned and sent home with your child no later than Friday, November 3, 2023. If you don’t want your item(s) returned, there is no need to label them.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Erika at erbaum4@yahoo.com.

Upcoming Transition Listening Sessions

Preparing students for rich, independent lives has long been our mission. Most recently, supporting transition and success has been one of our defined strategic initiatives. For the last several years, with focused effort, we have updated a school-wide transition curriculum, developed better communication tools for students and families to describe transitions within our program levels, reorganized our Vocational Department and piloted two new parent transition curricula. These initiatives have augmented the work we have always done. And we will never be done working on our transition programming.


We are at an exciting juncture, and we need your help. We are in the early planning stages for a Transition Institute at Cotting School. We envision this center serving both current students and families as well as young alumni. As we build our plans and prepare to update our strategic initiatives, we invite you to join us for some listening/brainstorming sessions. WE will listen as YOU brainstorm the possibilities for this new Transition Institute.


Please join President Bridget Irish, Trustee Tim Connelly and other members of the Board and Senior Administrative Team for hors d’oeuvres, beverages and lots of creative thinking at one of our upcoming listening sessions!

  • October 4, 2023 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. over Zoom
  • October 17, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. in the Campus Center

We look forward to seeing you, sharing our early thoughts and hearing your great ideas!

Please RSVP to Christine Dagostino at cdagostino@cotting.org so that we can plan to have adequate food and materials or to provide the appropriate Zoom link for our virtual session. Questions? Feel free to call us!

Cotting PTO Meeting

Friday, October 6, 2023

8:30-9:30 a.m.

In person in the Board Room and remotely on zoom.

The agenda and meeting link will be sent out by email next week.

2023 Cotting School PTO Fall Family BBQ & Cornhole Tournament


Tickets are $10 per person (children five and under are free).

Please forward any family needs or financial assistance requests to Dr. Pamela Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org or 781.862.7323.

When: Sunday, October 15, 2023, 12-3 p.m.

Where: Cotting School Field

453 Concord Avenue

Lexington, MA 02421


We are still in need of raffle donations.

Questions or donations? Please contact Sheryl at sherylannqueen@yahoo.com or 781.389.8494.

Spread the Word: Cotting Info Sessions

Know someone who would like to learn more about sending their student to Cotting School? We’ll be hosting information sessions throughout the year! Please feel free to share this information with them.

Dates: 10/20/23, 11/17/23, 1/19/24, 2/9/24, 3/22/24, 4/26/24 and 5/31/24

Time: 9:30-11 a.m.

Location: Cotting School Auditorium

RSVP requested but not required (walk-ins are always welcome). For more information and to RSVP, contact Director of Admissions Elizabeth Russell at erussell@cotting.org or 781-862-7323 ext. 114.

Click here to learn more!

Community Resources & Events
Ask Your Legislators to Act on the Workforce Crisis Now!

The Arc is grateful for the advocacy from our community regarding our top priority bills to raise the rates of pay for the DDS and MassHealth workforce (H171/S83) and to end the archaic policy that prohibits parents/guardians and other legally liable parties from being paid caregivers under the MassHealth PCA and AFC programs (H1232/S775).

Please take one minute to send this action alert to your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to contact the Chairs of Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities and the Chairs of HealthCare Finance to pass these bills favorably from their committees as soon as possible.


Take Action Here

Especially for Me Free Events

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons are all about inclusion. During these events, the Discovery Museum is open to the general public, but group visits and birthday parties are not scheduled to avoid crowding and support access to exhibits. Try a fun hands-on activity and use your sense of touch to explore a variety of textures.

Visually Impaired Family Evenings

Saturday, October 7, 5-8 p.m.

Register Now

Join us for an evening at the Museum especially for families with members who have a visual impairment. Play, explore, experiment and imagine in the accessible Discovery Museum and Discovery Woods. Meet and play with similar families while we are closed to the general public and headcount is limited.

Evenings for Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing and KODA Children

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 5-8 p.m.

Register Now

Autism-Friendly Evenings

  • Saturday, October 21, 2023-Register Now
  • Saturday, December 16, 2023-Registration not yet open*

Join us during this special free evening for families with members on the autism spectrum. Enjoy a fun, friendly experience in our accessible and universally designed museum while exploring our interactive exhibits and participating in hands-on activities. Any family that can benefit from a limited capacity visit is welcome at this event; a medical diagnosis is not required.

Dinner, including a gluten-free option, will be provided.

This Especially for Me event is offered in conjunction with Autism Alliance of MetroWest.

The events are free for all family members, but registration is required as space is limited. ASL interpretation may be available upon request; please indicate on the registration form if you would like interpretation.

All-Access Evenings

Saturday, November 18, 2023, 5-8 p.m. Registration not yet open*

Connecting Families Series

October 5, 2023, 5-6 p.m.

Let’s Talk Employment with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. FCSN has invited Kathleen Kelly and Rachel Reyes to share information that youth with disabilities and their families need to know to get ready for the world of work.

This event will be hosted with access to interpretation and transcription in 20+ languages.

Register for Let’s Talk Employment

Planning a Life (PAL)

Two Sessions:

  • October 13, 2023 (virtual) and October 14, 2023 (Northampton)
  • November 3. 2023 (virtual) and November 4, 2023 (Charlestown)

Planning a Life (PAL) is a two-day transition conference for parents, caregivers and professionals. Learn useful skills and information to help young people prepare for full, productive lives during and after high school. Topics include the transition planning process, transition goals on the IEP and encouraging independence and self-advocacy.

Learn more and Register for Planning a Life

Explore Your Creativity with Access to Arts

Starting in October, participants can explore visual arts through our Access to Arts (ATA) Program, formerly known as Access to Theater.

There will be two ATA Programs running this fall:

  1. ATA Visual Arts Workshops in drawing, painting and sculpture will take place at the NonProfit Center in Boston (89 South Street). We will meet from 4-6 p.m. on October 16, 23 and 30 and November 6, 13 and 20.
  2. ATA Community Mosaic Project. We will be creating a mosaic installation at Spaulding Hospital in Cambridge (1575 Cambridge St). We will meet from 4-6 p.m. from October 17-November 28 (no workshops on Halloween or the week of Thanksgiving).

Please fill out the youth application or email sbobbette@pyd.org to sign up!

To sign up for any of our fall programs, click below or reach out to info@pyd.org for more information.


DDS 101: What You Need to Know from the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Metro Region

For individuals and families of all ages.

Where: Virtual

Topics: Eligibility, transition, self-direction and autism supports


  • Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 6:30-7:30 p.m. register here.To request ASL and other language interpreters, contact Maria by October 4, 2023.
  • Thursday, October 26, 10-11 a.m. register here. To request ASL and other language interpreters, contact Maria by October 12, 2023.

Meeting links will be emailed to registrants prior to the event.

Questions? Contact Maria Stefano maria.stefano@mass.gov or 781.314.7508.

Webinars: Help With Problem Solving the Transition Process

The ARC of Massachusetts is offering webinars to help problem solve the transition process:

Virtual Navigation Help with ARC staff.

  • Have issues navigating services?
  • Want tips on Turning 22?
  • Where do you start?

12-1 p.m.

  • Oct 18
  • Nov 15
  • Dec 20

Registration is required.

This fall, the BAC is hosting a Community Game Day series! This group is intended for neurodivergent pre-teens and teens ages 9-17 (non-BAC individuals welcome as well!) to make new friends outside the context of typical therapeutic activities. The groups will be held from 3-4 p.m. at BAC Natick on:

October 21, 2023

November 18, 2023

December 9, 2023

Participants do not need to sign up for all dates.

Feel free to check out the flyer and go to Boston Ability Center Community Game Day to register!

AANE’s 2023 Virtual Daniel W. Rosenn Connections Conference

A one-day virtual event for the entire autism community: autistic individuals, their families, professionals and allies!



Join us for a vibrant, virtual gathering of autistic individuals, their families, professionals, and allies to celebrate the richness of autistic culture. This year’s conference will deep dive into the world of autism from a cultural perspective while fostering understanding, acceptance and appreciation for the unique experiences of autistic individuals.


  • Date: October 27, 2023
  • Time: 11 a.m- 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Livestreamed via Zoom and the recording will be available to registrants post-event
  • Cost: $45 for AANE members, $60 for non-members

To learn more about AANE membership contact fundraising@aane.org. AANE offers free and discounted admission; contact events@aane.org to learn more.


Keynote Highlight:

An Ethnographic Examination of Autistic Culture and Identity

As the neurodiversity movement has gained momentum, communities of autistic individuals have evolved towards a unique autistic culture. In this keynote, Dawn Prince Hughes explores the ethnographic evolution of the autistic culture and the importance of the autistic identity.


Dawn Prince-Hughes is an anthropologist, primatologist and ethologist. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary anthropology from the Universität Herisau in Switzerland and is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Western Washington University. She is also a successful author of books such as Gorillas Among Us: A Primate Ethnographer’s Book of Days and Songs of the Gorilla Nation in which she describes how she learned to manage her autism from observing and interacting with gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo (where she was employed when she was young). Additionally, she is the editor of Aquamarine Blue 5: Personal Stories of College Students with Autism. Most recently, Dr. Prince-Hughes has been facilitating the autism ethnography project, which she also designed, for the Cultural Autism Studies arm of Yale’s social autism programs (CASY), run by Dr. Roger Jou.

2023-2024 School Vacation Programs

They’re back and registration is open!

December 26, 27 and 28, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

February 20, 21 and 22, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

April 16, 17 and 18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Multi-age program for ages 5-12. A great alternative for families who live a distance!

Reserve your spot(s) here! No deposit required.

Tuition: $400/week cash discount or $425/week by check/Venmo.

Drop-in available $140/morning.

Have a great weekend!


Please share your own resources and questions with Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org.

Helpful Links
Family Resources Dashboard
2023-2024 School Year Calendar
Cotting Admissions Information
Spread the Word!
Do you know someone who would like to learn more about Cotting School? Please share the information at the links below with someone you know. Cotting School parents are our best ambassadors, and our team is available to connect with families that would like to learn more!
Cotting’s Viewbook: Reaching New Heights!
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